Ariel asked what motivates us to be an Ironman. That's a very good question and one that makes a person pause in reflection.
Two years ago I thought that anyone doing this kind of stuff had a screw loose (and I might be right). I was doing sprints and one international and had no desire to do an Ironman.
I'm not quite sure what started to change last year, but I did my first half and performed relatively well. I had a much larger sense of accomplishment and satisfaction after the half than I ever did after a sprint. Additionally, I had a friend training for Ironmans and I was intrigued.
Another factor is that I'm not getting any younger - I am turning 45 this year and what better way to celebrate my youth than with an event that really pushes the limits.
I signed up to be a volunteer at Lake Placid last year partly because my friend was racing and partly because I wanted a slot. I still hadn't said it out loud, but it was there on the fringe - I was one step closer to making a decision that would drive me for a year and maybe longer.
I know I'm rambling, but it is not an easy thing to answer - I did not make the decision on a whim, but can anyone ever say the decision to torture yourself for more than half the day (for us mere mortals) is a reasoned decision?
Then there Ego. I know that it takes so much more than just being in top physical shape to succeed at an Ironman event (though that helps). There's proper pacing, nutrition, hydration, electrolyte replacement, gear selection, etc. I consider myself a relatively intelligent person and my ego tells me that I can get this right if I put in the proper amount of training, research and preparation. I have to test this theory - I can't just put it out there and not back it up can I?
I have to earn the right to call myself an Ironman and I intend to do it!